Axel-In-Charge: Extending "Secret Wars," Excitement for a "Totally Awesome Hulk"
[Editor’s note: Each Sunday, Robot 6 contributors discuss the best in comics from the last seven days — from news and announcements to a great comic that came out to something cool creators or fans have done.]
It’s intriguing to see writer Curt Pires reach the third leg of his music trilogy, Pop (the first two legs were LP and Theremin). When I interviewed Pires about LP nearly two years ago, it was a project he self-published. So I was immensely pleased to see that the recognition of Pires’ talent had grown since that first leg to the point Dark Horse is publishing this new four-issue limited series.
In interviews I typically stay away from the “how did you get started in comics” question, but periodically I’ll delve into a question about a book dedication, hopeful for an interesting answer. I was hopeful with good reason with this week’s interview with writer Sam Humphries about the new Dark Horse hardcover collection of Sacrifice, by Humphries and artist Dalton Rose. To learn the death of his father was the push Humphries needed to pursue writing comics was a moment that gave me pause.
In fact, the book itself — about Hector, who through an epileptic seizure departs from modern time and space, back to when the Aztec civilization was in its prime — stopped me in my tracks. Storytelling that maps a psychedelic journey in a coherent and fascinating manner is no easy feat, but Humphries and Rose have accomplished it. Dark Horse’s collection of the self-published series will be released Wednesday.
Tim O’Shea: On a most rudimentary level, let’s talk about the logo design for Sacrifice. Who designed it, [comics designer] Dylan Todd or Dalton Rose?
Sam Humphries: Dylan Todd. Sacrifice largely takes place in the past, but it’s not a stodgy period piece. I wanted the design to reflect a modern sensibility without ignoring the core of the story, which is the Aztec Empire. It was a difficult balance but Dylan killed it. He gave Sacrifice a “face” to people who had never seen the story.
Dark Horse has provided Robot 6 with a first look at the cover for its upcoming hardcover collection of Sacrifice by Sam Humphries and Dalton Rose, announced this afternoon at Emerald City Comicon in Seattle.
Debuting in December 2011, the self-published fantasy/adventure centers on a troubled Joy Division fan named Hector who’s plucked from the 21st century and thrown into the middle of an Aztec civil war. After a nearly year-long delay, the series returned in January with Issue 4; the final issue arrives March 20.
Humphries, who has gone on to write Marvel’s Ultimate Comics: The Ultimates and Uncanny X-Force, told Robot 6 in September that self-published projects like Sacrifice and Our Love Is Real “always on the table for me, when the time is right.”
Sam Humphries and Dalton Rose have provided ROBOT 6 with an exclusive sneak peek at Sacrifice #5, the penultimate issue of their fantasy/adventure, which goes on sale today in print and digital formats.
Debuting in December 2011, Sacrifice centers on a troubled Joy Division fan named Hector who’s plucked from the 21st century and thrown into the middle of an Aztec civil war. After a nearly year-long delay, the series returned last month with Issue 4; the final issue arrives March 20.
My brain always shifts toward musical thoughts whenever possible. So when I learned Curt Pires was writing a story called Theremin, I assumed he meant the musical instrument. As I found out quite quickly in this interview, Pires’ new collaboration with artist Dalton Rose is focused on the inventor of the instrument, Léon Theremin. The series is slated to launch digitally from Monkeybrain Comics in March.
Robot 6: When we last spoke in September, you said your game plan for Theremin was that you intended to self-distribute it. How did it land at Monkeybrain?
Curt Pires: Initially my game plan was to self-distribute Theremin, correct. Well, It really developed out of talking with Dalton, discussing our plans for the book. We decided that we should sample the book to potential publishers, at least put feelers out there – see what the interest was in the book. We sent the first six pages and plot info over to Chris Roberson and Allison Baker at Monkeybrain, and they liked what they saw enough to invite us aboard to tell our story there. We could not be happier to be telling this story with them.
Sacrifice, the self-published fantasy/adventure comic by Sam Humphries and Dalton Rose will return Jan. 16 with Issue 4 after a nearly year-long delay. The final two issues of the acclaimed series are scheduled to arrive in February and March (or, in the words of the teaser, “Now Monthly Until the End of the World!”).
“The whole Sacrifice team has been working hard this year to allow us to return to Sacrifice without additional delays,” Humphries, whose first issue of Marvel’s Uncanny X-Force goes on sale the same day, said in a press release. “Issue 4 is ready to go to the printer, issue 5 is completely drawn, and Dalton is hard at work on issue 6. We’re well within schedule to ship the final issue in March. The book is looking better than ever — we thank our awesome retailers and devoted readers for their patience!”
Once and a while a comic drops in my inbox that carries some distinct element that snags my interest. LP, by writer Curt Pires and artist Ramon Villalobos, focuses on the life of a musician named F and the LP he possesses, which has unique qualities — far more unique than your average round piece of vinyl. The comic, which Pires is self-distributing, debuts Sept. 26 (it received a pre-release endorsement from guest Ed Brisson in this week’s What Are You Reading?”). In anticipation of its release, Pires took some time to answer my questions regarding his new collaboration with Villalobos — as well as to give me a chance to discuss music a smidge (something I always love to do).
Tim O’Shea: LP centers on a vinyl record (aka LP) — could this story have ever worked for you if it had centered around a CD or an MP3 player?
Curt Pires: I definitely think this story only works on vinyl. There’s something romantic about vinyl — something tactile. Something that you don’t really get with CDs or MP3s. I think a lot of my thoughts as towards this are sort of folded into the story. Sometimes intentionally — other times maybe not so much.
Did you have the story already written when you teamed with Ramon Villalobos, or did you construct the story with his art style in mind?
I had the full script written by the time Ramon had hoped on board to draw the book. I was definitely looking for someone with a bit more of European clean line style to draw this book. I’m a huge fan of this style of art. So Ramon’s sort of Darrow/Grampa/Quitely-influenced style was perfect for this book.
Digital | Retailer Brian Hibbs responds to recent comments around the price of digital comics, commenting on how “channel migration” could effect comic retailers: “The concern of the comics retailer isn’t that there IS digital — fuck, I’m totally all for a mechanism to drive a potentially wide segment of customers to the medium of comics itself. How can that NOT help me? But, rather, that enough customers will ‘change channels’ (of purchase), so as to make segments of work unprofitible to carry. I’ve been pretty straight with you — most periodicals are but marginally profitible; most books are largely unprofitible. That we have stellar, break out, oh-my-god-it’s-like-printing-money successes like WALKING DEAD or BONE or SANDMAN doesn’t mean that this is the way all books can follow. Quite the opposite in fact! So what this means is that even losing a TINY portion of the readership through Channel Migration could potentially have dire effects. Seriously, if I lost just 10% of my customers, I’m done. And what we also know is that when physical stores close, most of that readership for comics UTTERLY VANISHES. The gist of this is that losing 10% of sales to migration could mean that the other 80% of that stores’ sales are COMPLETELY LOST.” [The Savage Critics]